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Started cutting my milk jugs

Anyone else?
I'm thinking I should take my soil out of my trunk and put it in my shed, as well. That job won't be so easy to do come January...
Not long now :)

Comments (33)
  • Jay 6a Chicago

    I've cut up 5 milkjugs already. I thought I could use gallon jugs of ice tea, then I found out the labels are molecularly bonded and can't be removed without inhaling a bunch of nasty chemicals, so I ditched that idea and went and bought a bunch of clear plastic bins. They will be easier to handle than milkjugs. I went really overboard with getting seeds this year. I may have to sell plants at the farmers market lol. I've got soil in my trunk too.

  • Skip1909

    I cut up 2 and set them out with pipevine seeds in them. Theyre supposed to be hard to germinate, I figured I should get them started early. I have a hoop house for trays but I like the milk jugs and individual containers, they seem like more of a sure thing.

  • bella rosa

    I was thinking of doing the same starting next week. I have over 100 milk jugs to do.

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Bella, best of luck with it. I have a huge amount of containers too. About 150 species including some ornamental native grasses.

  • Skip1909

    So are you going to put out 150 containers Jay? I wouldn't be able to deal with that many and my wife would kill me seeing all the containers out in the yard. To mitigate that I put in a 12'x4' 2x6 raised bed yesterday to keep all "the plants" in one place thats out of the line of site when you look out the window :)

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Skip, about half that amount, 2 species per container. The plants I want more of I'll grow in milkjugs as I guzzle them. Have extra Glandulifera bipinnatifida seeds. One of the prairie plants in reserve that I have too many seeds for. More are sure to follow . So around 75 containers give or take 20 or 30 on the plus side of course. Those Gnaphalium seeds are a nightmare. I just scooted them off a piece of paper and hoped for the best. I have to have enough room for walking space lol.

  • bella rosa

    Jay, do you have any pics of Glandulifera bipinnatifida? I've never heard of that plant before. I want to try to wintersow stipa tennuissima. I enjoy cutting up the milk jugs - gives me something to do in the long Winter months. :-)


  • 2ManyDiversions

    Newbie to winter sowing but planning on cutting mine up next week. I've got around 20 jugs saved. Zone 7a.

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Bella, here's a couple pics of the Glandularia bipinnatifida. I'm trying it for the first time. There are a few Verbena species that are similar. I also grow the annual Verbena teniusecta. I like to use these plants as ground hugging clumps mixed with grasses, Scutellarias and other wildflowers. The Stipa is awesome. I want some. 2ManyDiversions, good luck with your sowing. What seeds are you sowing?
    Glandularia bipinnatifida




  • 2ManyDiversions

    Hi Jay! Oh heavens, I'm actually still working on that list, which of course means I've yet to order seeds though I have some already which I harvested 2 years ago and are still good. We just re-did our smallish back yard, so I've got far more room to plant now with lots of empty beds (oh joy!) (zone 7a). Poppies - at least 3 varieties, which I'll direct sow and jug-sow (heard both did fine). Dianthas, rose moss, alyssum, gaillardia, sweet william... I'd like to attempt liatris too. Oh, and now also glandularia bipinnatifida thanks to the above pics! I think that might be attractive around large rocks? More, but I need to do some planning first. I'm trying to find a good ground cover between flagstones (full sun), but can only come up with thyme leaf speedwell thus far - not sure about winter sowing that. Truthfully, I'm late in planning, but hope to get poppies in the ground directly soon as I get the seeds, everything else by Dec and Jan.


    Have to admit, I'm afraid I might try too many varieties of seeds! I've not planted in 2 years due to other things going on, so I'm pretty excited about this winter sowing and next spring. But then, is there such a thing as too many flowers? !

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    >Have to admit, I'm afraid I might try too many varieties of seeds.<


    Like I have room to talk lol. You gave me an idea. I'm going to winter sow the freebee opium poppy seeds I have. I think I have some perennial ornamental poppy seeds too. I winter sowed some prickly poppies and I also have California poppies. There are lots of different plants that you can use in between flagstones. Sedums and Buffalo grass come to mind. Here's a link about them.


    https://www.gardenista.com/posts/hardscaping-101-ground-covers-for-garden-paths-plants-between-pavers/


    P

  • 2ManyDiversions

    Yes, my mouth kinda dropped when I read "150" the other day : ) So sorry I gave you an idea (just kidding!). Serves you right, showing that verbena!


    Thank you for the link Jay... now I really can't decide!

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Ok, here's one problem with sowing a lot of seeds. You forget what you've sown and risk doing it twice. Now I have to put everything in alphabetical order. I'm buying a labeler. All still fun! Repent all ye winter sowers for you WILL reap what you sow! lol

  • 2ManyDiversions

    Well, in all fairness, perhaps that applies only to those who are sowing over 100 different seeds, not naming names... Jay ; )


    I hope the labeler labels stay on... has anyone had issues with magic marker labels fading after a long winter? I've been kind of concerned about that.


    "Repent all ye winter sowers for you WILL reap what you sow"! Sounds like a perfect garden sign to me!

  • Skip1909

    I had sharpie stay on the milk jug last year no problem, but I also wrote the plant name on the duct tape with a pen which leaves an impression in the tape even if the ink washes away.

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Good one 2many! I've heard mixed reports about sharpees. I have a sign marker, not that it's any better. I also scratched the numbers on all the containers as a backup. I'm using clear plastic bins mostly. It would be hard if not impossible to scratch out readable letters on milkjugs. I might get a labeler as an additional backup. Like that duck tape idea. As long as you have a readable impression you're fine. The duck tape way would be a lot easier and faster than etching each one. 2Many, what plants are you sowing? I'm thinking too that I should check the labels throughout winter and fix anything that's fading. Reality check. I have 43 10×12 plastic bins sown, 34 more bins to sow and more bins or milkjugs to be added in February. 77 containers plus a few more. Not used to dealing in those numbers but it's for a great cause lol. I was going to use only milkjugs and gallon ice tea jugs. I had a bunch of jugs saved and then couldn't get the labels off, so I had to scratch that idea and go with the bins. I like the clear plastic. Everything isn't hunky dory with the bins either. You have to be real gentle when drilling the holes or they crack real easy. I wonder if a glue gun would work? Didn't feel like going back and forth with heating a screwdriver. I soaked the milkweeds for 24 hours before sowing. I don't think they need that much because they will be moist all winter. A couple of the Asclepias arenaria seeds had little roots peeking out after soaking. I hope some if those seeds make it. It's more of a southern milkweed so I was thinking that maybe it didn't require cold treatment, but the Prairie Moon website says it needs 60 days cold treatment. It's frigid here. Winter is hitting hard and early this year. Asclepias variegata seeds are selling. 25 seeds for $14 with shipping. A rare milkweed that's usually difficult to find. On EBAY. Get them while you can!

  • 2ManyDiversions

    Skip, thanks! I'll do that (marker and duct tape indention) as well since you've mentioned it. Trying to rack my brain for a way to number the jugs more permanently, that way I can keep a separate list and possibly re-use some of the jugs next winter with different lists. Hmmm... thought of poking braille holes until I saw the equivalent for braille numbers. I'm not that neat. Thought of poking the number of holes for the jug number but at #10 and beyond my hands will be over that! Wait, what about writing on the inside of the jug before it's closed - that would protect it a bit from fading due to sun and weather, right? I guess the heat and moisture would still affect.


    Jay, I'm still working on my list (as I type this!). I keep running outside to double-check how much room I have. I made a computer drawing of the garden areas yesterday and started looking at poppy seeds online but got so confused. Today and tomorrow I need to get my plan in order. I suppose I can always transplant if I don't like what I have next summer. I spent an entire winter one year planning a cottage garden (about 30 years ago) and it turned out great, but my planting efforts since have been nil other than veggies and herbs, so I'm starting from scratch as regards all knowledge now! I'd ask you what your planting, but Garden Web/Houzz would most likely self destruct with that much data... Ha ha! Truthfully, I admire you gung-ho, can-do attitude and can't wait to see everyone's results (mine too) next spring : )


    And thanks for mentioning about drilling in plastic bins. In a couple years we'll rebuild our veg garden, and I was thinking of plastic bins there for winter sewing, so I'll remember that. DH had success drilling plexiglass, but that's a different animal and he used special bits as I recall. Those plastic bins are thicker than jugs, so I'm guessing the glue gun might be better than heating a screwdriver, but most likely a slow drill the best method. I'd give it a shot though as you might be correct.

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Pen, not marker. Point is too soft. The thing with the drilling is to find the right bit. Try out a few until you find a good one.

  • 2ManyDiversions

    Pen on duct tape, marker on jugs, got it, thanks! Although, the best laid plans... I just counted and I have 21 seed varieties picked out! And exactly 21 jugs. I need more jugs... Or perhaps I need to scale down this winter's seeds : )

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    If you're asking me I say get more jugs. I just figured it will take 30 more jugs to plant my annuals. Or 15 bins. Seriously, if anyone wants seeds from my list feel welcome. There are many extras. I remember where I left off and everything is organized. I think I'll pass on the labeler and use the duck tape method from here on out..

  • bella rosa

    Anyone have any recommendations for a non-fading pen? To track my milk jugs, I number them 1, 2, 3 and so on. I keep a notepad with the jug # and the plant name and the date I sowed it. I also create white labels by cutting up cheap window blinds and place them inside the milk jugs. When the seeds begin to germinate, I go back to my notepad and circle the jug #. Anyone else do this?

    Jay, thanks for posting your pictures. Where did you purchase your seeds?

    As for poppies, I always so mine in mid-February, usually on President's day because that's when I have a day off from work. I've posted pics of my poppies on the forum. It's a favorite of mine to grow and so easy.


  • bella rosa

    Jay, I just checked out the link you provided. Great info. I also wondered what to plant in between my flagstones and I decided on ajuga, black scallop. I really like the dark color of the leaves and a big bonus is that they had them for $1 at the Farmer's Market at the Chicago Daley center. I usually stop by every week in the Summer months.

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Bella, I wasn't sure a sharpee would cut it, so I got a sign marker. I don't know if they are really any better though lol. I put numbers on the containers and use a note pad just like you. I also scratched the numbers on all the containers as a backup. Skip said he puts duck tape on the jugs and then he writes the numbers on the duck tape and it leaves an impression. So even if the ballpoint ink fades, you can still read the impression. Sounds like a great idea and time saving. This is my first time winter sowing. I guess it's better starting out small but it is what it is. I got the Glandularia bipinnatifida seeds from Native American Seed. They have some cool stuff, and the seeds are always generous quantities.Packets are $3.00. I got the moss Verbena, Verbena tenuisecta seeds from Wildflower Farms in Texas, but I saw them cheaper at Etsy. 250 seeds for $1.49 no shipping charge. The Glandularia is perennial, and the moss Verbena's an annual. I grew some California poppies this year. I have some freebee somniferum, I'm going to winter sow too. What poppies are you growing? I'm hoping to finish winter sowing by the end if the weekend. Saturday and Sunday will be warmer for a change.

  • bella rosa

    Jay, thanks for all of the great suggestions. I'll have to check out the seed sources you mentioned. I've ordered from Wildflower Farms and they are great. Very generous amount of seeds too. As for the poppies, I'm not sure which ones I'm WS this year. To see which poppies I've sown before, do a search on:

    Winter sown poppies from 2017-Pics only

  • 2ManyDiversions

    Jay, you’re right, I’d need more jugs. Darn. I also searched for your list and was amazed at all the plantings you and Skip plan – but then, my list has gotten lengthy too. I think I need to pare it a bit for this first year.


    Bella Rosa, I searched for your link and was thrilled to see your poppies! Utterly gorgeous! I’d intended to sow direct, but now will do both just in case. Thrilled to hear the annuals will self-sow! I'm going to try your methods for labeling.


    My biggest concern for the seedlings are slugs and rabbits. I put fake snakes out 3 years ago to keep my direct sown safe from the rabbits but still lost more than half. Marigolds were not a rabbit deterrent, they ate those too. 2 years ago I spring sowed in egg containers and kept them in my enclosed herb garden, safe from the rabbits but the slugs feasted on all of them. Ended up with one moss rose. My plan for next spring is to put the jugs on our 18" high seating wall and hope the slugs don’t find them. Leave the seedlings in the jugs until they have enough growth to hopefully keep the rabbits from eating everything.


    Well, back to the drawing board for me as I need to cull my list of seeds somehow.

  • bella rosa

    2ManyDiversions, good luck in sowing poppies. It's fun to see the different colors and varieties. One tip - I sow the seeds very thick in the milk jugs. When they sprout and get to a good size, I cut the top of the jug off, invert it and plant all of the seedlings. I think folks on the WS forum call this - HOS - hunk of seedlings. It works wonders with poppies and I've never had any problems with transplanting them. Oh, one more thing, I tried direct sowing one year and the birds ate the seeds, so good luck with that! :-)

    I have another post of poppies in the Peonies forum, you might like:

    Peonies, poppies and poodles, oh, my!

  • Skip1909

    I didn't plan on sowing so many seeds this year but then I ended up chatting with Jay and getting half his leftovers. Now I might be in over my head but... challenge accepted! I have slugs too, there is a product called Sluggo that I might try around where I keep my flats, milk jugs, and containers. Rabbits I dont know how to deal with, maybe liquid fence, or a hawk or owl decoy? I see a couple cats pass through my yard that I think keep the rabbits away.

  • 2ManyDiversions

    Oh for crying out loud Bella Rosa, I see a poppy there I wasn't going to order but now want!!! LOL! Thank you so much for the tip on planting because I'd planned to sew them sparsely - 2 seeds a jug! You saved my behind - or poppies! I'd heard they didn't transplant easily, and your method sounds better. Our vermin, I mean robins, have thinned out now. Our small suburban yard was filled with them this fall and they rooted everywhere. It was like a scene from The Birds movie this year and the noise was incredibly loud as well. BTW, poodle lover here too : ) Love your sweet chocolate baby : ) We've a redhead here (apricot now that she's 9). Also just adopted the stray cat that's been scaring our rabbit population the past 8 months, so she's retired from that.


    Sure, blame it on Jay, Skip! I read reviews on Amazon for the liquid fence, and the recent ones seem to say it's a fail. I had to move my fake snakes every day which seemed to work, but missed one day... waskely wabbits caught on! We have bald eagles, owls, and hawks that you'd think would help our rabbit situation but thus far they seem more interested diving at smaller birds.
    I think those cats ought to do the trick. The only real slug deterrent I'm aware of is the slug electric fence with a 9 volt battery, but that's for garden situations, not temporary. One of many videos on How To if anyone's interested:


  • bella rosa

    2ManyDiversions, oh, I know what you mean about your yard looking like a scene from the The Birds movie. We live near a corn field and every year after the farmer harvests the field, we get a huge swarm of black birds - I mean HUGE - descending into the fields to eat the fallen corn cobs. Hitchcock would have loved it, I'm sure.

    BTW, there's a great online resource for poppies called, One stop poopy shoppe. They have an amazing assortment of seeds. Kinda pricey, but worth it if you're interested in trying some different varieties.

    As for poodles, I love them! Here's a pic of my little trouble maker, Mia. She's super smart and very mischievous. She follows me around like a little shadow. I love her to bits! :-)

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    I'm a cat person, but I love all animals. Pitbulls like me. . It's going to be raining for 3 days. I sowed some milkweeds the other day and I just wrote their names on the bins with a sharpee. I know I have about 8 more milkweeds, make that nine, just won a bid on one. So I can't remember which ones I sowed and it's cold and rainy and I don't want to go and check the names now so I'm sowing other seeds instead. I found an empty bin with numbers that that was supposed to be sown already. I thought oh man are they all out of sinc but it was a duplicate, not sure how that happened but I think I've avoided any huge blunders so far. I'm nearing the milkjug phase. They are a lot flimsier than the bins. I sowed some prickly poppies. Hopefully my opium poppies will do better with being winter sowed than they have being scattered on the ground. I've never had much luck with them. I have celendine poppies and a bleeding heart, dutchmans breeches, bloodflower. I like those blue Mecenopsis poppies but they wouldn't do good in my area but they still sell them at the big nursery here. Bella, thanks for jogging my memory. I was going to order the Mexican Feather Grass seeds but forgot about it till you mentioned it. They might arive today. That is a beautiful grass. I love how it blows in the wind. I'll be sowing sedum seeds. That's new for me. Sedum roots so easy. You can pick up the broken off pieces of it at the garden center, bring it home, stick it in the ground and walla, new sedum plant. I'm going to sow about 12 species now.

  • bella rosa

    Jay, I've never had luck WS opium poppies. Not sure why. I can grow the plant with no problem, but growing it from seed, is tough. As for growing Stipa tennuissima (sp?), they always sell the seeds at our local Farm and Fleet in Spring time, so I'll just purchase some. Wish me luck. You're right, they are so beautiful blowing in the weed. I don't think it's a hardy grass for Zone 5. Darn, what's up with this crazy Midwest weather - rainy, windy and warm.

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Gardenho is growing it in zone 5 I think. We were talking about it and it's hardier than I thought. I thought that you could only grow opium poppies from seeds. I've never seen plants at a nursery. I'm pretty sure the somniferums need a cold period before they can germinate. I threw the seeds on the ground in the fall, but I have so many other plants and weeds that there's too much competition for the seedlings. I had a few come up and bloom. I didn't collect any of the California poppies. Most stores sell them though. I really don't have any room for opium poppies. I think they need a lot of sun and they just bloom and die early so it doesn't make sense to have them taking up prime sunny growing space.

  • 2ManyDiversions

    bella rosa (or anyone, really), I've a question. This past summer we completely re-did our small backyard, and there's an area that I can plant a somewhat larger group of poppies - not massive, but would make a nice area for a small mass planting. Full sun, I just need to add/amend soil (which we'll do in February when we finish off other landscaped areas). I'm a bit concerned about weeding. I enjoy weeding mind you, but we've added so many beds (which is why I'm trying WS so I can now have flowers again!) and I'm a bit worried it'll all be overwhelming. So I'm wondering, over time, can I fill that area with enough poppies that they compete with most of the weeds? Also, would you recommend other flowers interspersed with the poppies?


    ETA: I ask the above question about crowding weeds as I can't recall how large the poppy plants themselves are at the ground.


    bella, I blame you partly for this idea! The One Stop Poppy Shoppe has me drooling! I first fell in love with poppies when I saw a small mass planting in NM and was enchanted with those huge colorful blooms! I hope my WS of poppies goes well as I've never had them before.

    I've finally finished my list of WS and spring planting seeds. Yes, I need more jugs, but have narrowed it to 19 varieties for now and I'll just transplant or pull if I'm not happy with anything over the years. Our weather tomorrow is supposed to be a balmy 69 F in zone 7, so waiting to WS works well for me! And I am including a couple ornamental grasses due to the posts here - you all are so inspirational!

    Mia is a doll! I adore black poodles... heck, I love all poodles and have been momma to some sweeties for the past 46 years : ) Our current is Rose. She no longer sports long hair or the top-knot. She's a rascal too, very spirited but smart as can be (as are all poo's).

    2nd Photos for Uploading · More Info


    Jay, I'm a cat person as well! Love all animals really. Our current newly adopted kitty was a wondering stray and she's now a very spoiled house cat : ) She chases the dog, the dog chases the cat, and basically they have a great time with one another, giving us laughter at their crazy antics and attention-getting.

    I'm going to start cutting jugs tomorrow, but won't order my seeds until Monday, so it'll be a while before I do any WS. I imagine I will make plenty of my own blunders!

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